A man has been jailed after a series of sex attacks on “lone and vulnerable women” in Manchester Gay Village, raping one victim while she was vomiting.
Ashfaq Khan was sentenced to 20 years — although he will be eligible for release two-thirds of the way into his term — after Manchester Crown Court heard he posed as a taxi driver and offered women lifts before attacking them, local media reports.
The 60-year-old, who was convicted of a similar assault around ten years ago, was found guilty of three counts of rape in attacks on two women, which both took place in summer last year.
Prosecutor Guy Mathieson told the court that Khan parked his car and travelled to the multicultural city’s Gay Village on foot to seek out victims, settling on a woman who had been on a night out with friends before hitting nightclubs in the Gay Village on her own.
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When she went to take a bus home at the end of the night, Khan approached the woman and was “persistent” in urging her to get into his vehicle, said Mathieson, telling the court: “It appears he was pretending to her that he had a taxi [driver], or at least was willing to give her a lift home.”
A short way into the drive, the victim reportedly noticed that the car doors had been locked, before Khan complimented her and put his hand on her knee, prompting the woman to protest that she was a lesbian.
But the Longsight, south Manchester resident drove his passenger to a secluded spot and stopped the car, pretending to have a flat tyre, before throttling the woman and raping her, the jury heard.
Mathieson further told the court how, when she got out of the car afterwards in order to be sick, Khan raped his victim a second time, as she was vomiting. He then drove her home, where she was heard screaming and crying following the ordeal, according to the Manchester Evening News.
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In his next attack, just weeks later, Khan returned to the Gay Village and found his next victim, a lone woman with whom he had spoken earlier in the night while she was with her partner.
At the end of the night after the bar closed, she was persuaded to accept a lift home — but, after falling asleep in Khan’s car, she woke up at his home, the court heard.
Frightened, she sent text messages sounding the alarm to her partner, and a picture of the driver to her sister in a text message captioned “help”.
Unfortunately, these were not received until the following morning, by which time Khan had forced shots of alcohol down his victim’s throat before raping her.
It also emerged that Khan had previously been convicted for assault by penetration in a similar attack around a decade ago after targeting another drunk woman in the Gay Village — but he only received a community sentence for the offence.
Sentencing, Judge Timothy Smith described Khan as a “predatory and manipulative rapist”, telling him: “You set out with a single-minded determination, to find lone drunk vulnerable women with one purpose on your mind, to rape.”